Orioles sign 22, renew contracts with four
Jones, Wieters would consider staying with club long-term
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Although both sides were unable to reach an agreement, both Matt Wieters and Adams Jones said on Tuesday that their respective contract renewals will not deter them from staying with the Orioles long term.
The club announced Tuesday morning that that they had agreed to terms with 22 players on one-year contracts and renewed the contracts of four players -- Wieters, Jones, Nolan Reimold and Jason Berken -- for 2010.
"I understand their side and I still get paid pretty good to play this game. So it's definitely not a big deal," Wieters said.
The 23-year-old Wieters, considered to be a cornerstone of the franchise, said what transpired this year won't harbor any ill feelings for the future and it will be easy to put it out of his mind.
"That's why you have agents. That's why you have all the business people looking out on your side, because all you do is go out there and play," Wieters said. "That's how you stay in this game for a long time. You can't worry about that stuff."
Added Jones: "It can't be [in your mind]. You look at it, if it's all going to work out, it works out.
"Before you are arbitration eligible, I guess they can do whatever they want. Let the process take care of itself."
Jones said he hasn't heard anything about a potential long-term deal, but acknowledged that the previous situation of teammate Nick Markakis makes the news easier to swallow. The Orioles renewed Markakis' contract in 2008 before agreeing to a six-year, $60-million dollar deal to avoid arbitration last winter.
"Both sides will come to something," said Jones, who will be arbitration eligible in 2011. "If they want me to be around a long time, I'd love to be around a long time. I think they expressed the same interest. Let [president of baseball operation Andy MacPhail] and my agent [JR Sports], let them do their work."
MacPhail, who didn't try to hide his dislike for baseball's current contract renewal system, said the club hasn't formally approached Jones to talk about a long-term deal. But theoretically that's exactly what could happen if Jones can prove to be healthy and productive. An All-Star selection and Gold Glove winner, Jones had a breakout 2009 season shortened by injury. The 24-year-old hit .277 with 19 homers and 70 RBIs in 119 games.
"Philosophically, to me, when that player hits the third year of service [is when those negotiations start]," MacPhail said. "That's when we got serious with Nick. And I think that gives you the best barometer you are going to have in terms of what that player is."
Again citing Markakis, MacPhail said he wasn't worried about this year's renewals potentially hindering the organization's chances of keeping players like Wieters and Jones.
"Players and the agents are awfully sophisticated; they understand what the system is and where the leverage is at different points in their career," MacPhail said." It's just one of those things. I would expect that the players would exercise the leverage when they have it. I think that's what they should do. And the club's got to do the same thing."
Wieters hit .288 with nine homers in his first taste of the Major Leagues last season. The young catcher will be asked to steer a rotation that is projected to include Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.
Berken went 6-12 with a 6.54 ERA in 24 games last season and is expected to start the year at Triple-A Norfolk or as a candidate for the Orioles' bullpen. Reimold has been slowed this spring after undergoing left Achilles tendon surgery in September, but he started Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The 26-year-old hit .279 with 15 homers in 104 games and is projected to be the Baltimore's starting left fielder as part of a platoon with Felix Pie.
The list of players recently signed includes: Robert Andino, Michael Aubrey, Josh Bell, Bergesen, Alberto Castillo, Brandon Erbe, Pedro Florimon, David Hernandez, Rhyne Hughes, Jim Johnson, Luis Lebron, Kam Mickolio, Lou Montanez, Troy Patton, Wilfrido Perez, Pie, Dennis Sarfate, Brandon Snyder, Chorye Spoone, Craig Tatum, Tillman and Justin Turner.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.